My 6-year-old daughter asks a lot of questions. From "Why does the moon change the tides?" to "How does the tooth fairy decide how much money to give?" She's curious. To paraphrase a Jimmy Buffett song, I know the answers to some of her questions; for many others, I'm looking for suggestions.
It's only natural to ask questions about the unknown, and a new SEC football season is no different. Questions loom about coaches, teams, players, traditions, and fans of the finest college football conference in the country.
Here are SEC Banter's key questions just one week removed from the start of the 2013 SEC football season.
We've got questions about coaches. Will Nick Saban win a historic fourth national title at Alabama and insist that his statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium be raised to make him look a foot taller, bringing his height to 5-foot-7?
Will the gobbledygook spewing from Les Miles' mouth bring Loozianians to the crawfish boiling point?
We've got questions about players. Will anyone care that Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray becomes the SEC's all-time leader in touchdown passes, completions and passing yardage if his biggest career win is the Capital One Bowl?
Will Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel have difficulty exercising good judgment and staying out of the spotlight in the wake of winning the Heisman Trophy as a 19-year-old freshman? We've got questions about the season's first week. How badly will the SEC embarrass the conference that used to be good at basketball when South Carolina beats UNC, Georgia whips Clemson, and Alabama destroys Virginia Tech?
The first week also has Ole Miss visiting Vanderbilt, but surely you can't seriously be looking forward to that game? (I actually am looking forward to it, and don't call me Shirley) We've got questions about tailgate recipes. Have you tried my widely acclaimed SEC Banter poppers yet? If grilled chicken topped with jalapenos and a dollup of cream cheese all wrapped in bacon isn't your thing, honcho your own SEC tailgate recipe and let me know if it beats the poppers.
We've got questions about SEC teams on the rise. Vanderbilt kicked four players off the team this summer. Does that signal the ‘Dores are finally attracting SEC-caliber talent? Auburn is supposedly on the rise, too, but the bar is low. Can the Plainsmen win just two SEC games? (Aubie went winless in the SEC in 2012). We've got questions about our habits during football season. After a big win, will you spend the following work week reading and watching everything college football-related? Will you ignore college football entirely after a big loss? On Sundays at church, will you avoid that guy who pulls against your team but pretends he's sorry your team lost?
We've got questions about what poor non-SEC team will con itself into believing it can beat Alabama or Georgia in the national championship game. Ohio State? Oregon? Stanford? Puh-leaze.
History dictates that the true national title game takes place on the first Saturday in December in the Georgia Dome, and in an exhibition contest following that game, the SEC champ will make it eight crystal ball trophies in a row. On the brink of another season in the Southeastern Conference, our questions will be answered as the air cools, the leaves turn, and we usher in our favorite Southern pastime. Speaking of questions, my daughter recently asked me why SEC football is the best. As Jimmy Buffett sang, there's a lot I want to pass along that was handed down to me. Better get started.
Ben Prevost is a contributing columnist for The Times. Follow him on Twitter @SECbanter or contact him at SECbanter@hotmail.com.